When Major League Baseball finally approved instant replay, a strong message was sent along with it, both through official channels and unofficial channels in the form of background comments to many reporters writing replay stories.
That message? It’s a work in progress. Baseball is being deliberate because it wants to get things right. If things don’t go smoothly, we’ll adjust. We’ll listen to managers and players and umpires and do our best to tweak the system.
That’s a smart message! It’s also one that is being undermined by fining people who are critical of replay. As baseball is apparently going to do to John Farrell. From the Daily News:
Joe Torre, MLB’s executive VP of baseball operations, told the Daily News on Monday that Farrell would be fined for his critical remarks about baseball’s new replay system following Boston’s 3-2 loss Sunday night.
The comments, which included Farrell saying “it’s hard to have any faith in the (replay) system,” came after instant replay decisions went against the Sox in losses on Saturday and Sunday.
Farrell didn’t say it was corrupt. He didn’t say it was a failure. He voiced his frustration with a system that has not been perfect out of the gate. While I’m sure Major League Baseball would prefer such criticisms to be a bit more constructive and a lot more private, fining someone for stating the bleedin’ obvious like Farrell did is not exactly on all fours with the message about wanting feedback about their sure-to-be-tweaked work-in-progress.
Just yesterday, as some folks were lamenting the allegedly lost art of managers arguing and getting ejected in the age of instant replay, a manager argued and got ejected for arguing over a call on instant replay.
The manager was John Farrell of the Red Sox and his anger came on what would eventually be called a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning. The play, which would give the Yankees their third and decisive run in the game, came when Francisco Cervelli hit into what at first glance appeared to be an inning-ending double play. That’s what umpire Bob Davidson ruled anyway. Joe Girardi came out to challenge it. After a three-minute review, the call was reversed, Cervelli was safe and the Yankees were awarded their third run of the game.
Watch the play here and judge for yourself.
It’s about as close as it gets from where I’m sitting. I think he’s safe. It’s certainly the case that if you called him safe, it’d be damn hard to say he was conclusively out on replay. This case was vice-versa, of course, so to make the call that the replay officials ultimately made, you had to say that he was clearly safe in order to overrule the initial out call. I’m not 100% sure you can say you had that here, but that’s what the replay officials said.
Farrell, whose Red Sox were victimized by a botched replay call the day before, didn’t think they had it. He came out to argue and was quickly ejected. After the game he was still frustrated:
“Extremely difficult to have any faith in the process that’s being used . . . We felt it was clear that the replay was inconclusive. Any angle that we looked at, you couldn’t tell if the foot was on the bag behind Mike Napoli’s leg. Where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow. On the heels of yesterday, it’s hard to have any faith in the system.”
You can bet there will be additional fallout as the days go on. Heck, as the hours go on today.
Stuff I never heard before but is pretty darn interesting. From the Toronto Sun: Omar Vizquel and John Farrell had a big falling out when they were both with the Blue Jays. And it may have had its roots in Vizquel buying plane tickets for a rookie’s family. Go read the story. The biggest takeaway, I think: losing makes people cranky.
Another takeaway: how the writer casually drops the “future Hall of Famer” Omar Vizquel thing, which we’ve been seeing more and more of lately. I love how it’s just assumed for him like it would be for, say, Ken Griffey or Jeter or someone. This despite the fact that Vizquel, based on historical standards, would be a pretty weak Hall of Famer, objectively speaking.
I’d say he’s going to be the next Jack Morris, but that would require him being on the ballot a long time. And I feel like people are going to vote him in pretty quickly.